Home » Health » Sequelae after admission to Intensive Care. What is post-ICU syndrome?

Sequelae after admission to Intensive Care. What is post-ICU syndrome?

When a patient leaves the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and goes to the floor it is a good sign. Certainly. It means that the body, the vitals, have responded adequately to the intensive therapy and their health status is good enough to continue to recover in a hospital room. However, after going through the ICU, especially in the most serious cases or with a longer stay, the patient usually needs extra time to recover and overcome possible sequelae, which is known as post- ICU In our blog post today, we’re going to talk about the side effects of going through Intensive Care, and we’re also sharing a video with patient testimonials that might be helpful.

Dr. Ángela Algaba, intensive care physician at the Torrejón University Hospital, explains that the post-ICU syndrome is “a set of physical, cognitive and psychological sequelae suffered by many patients who enter the ICU, with a prolonged stay or that affect them in a special way, and which implies a deterioration, at least temporarily, in the quality of life”. However, many make a full recovery, after a variable period of time and, above all, after a rehabilitation in which the three most affected areas are worked on in the patients.

Symptoms after going through the ICU

Regarding the effects on the patient’s physical condition, the symptoms that most experience are weakness, exhaustion and pain; in the cognitive area, attention and memory problems usually appear after an admission; and in terms of mental health, there are many patients who, even outside the hospital, continue to experience episodes of anxiety, depression and sometimes post-traumatic stress disorder.

The professionals of the Ribera health group recognize that the post-ICU syndrome is difficult to prevent, although in these units more and more complementary aspects are worked on to the patient’s physical recovery, and Physiotherapy and music therapy, for example, have a prominent role growing to the integral approach to the treatment of each person. Also, depending on the incidence of Covid, the degree of occupancy of the unit and the patient’s own state of health and consciousness, there is an important commitment to facilitate contact with the family, either in person or through of video calls.

In any case, professionals bet on directly addressing the sequelae of these admissions even while the patient has just recovered in the hospital, as they can sometimes be traumatic. This aid can provide patients and relatives with resources to overcome it and prevent possible episodes of anxiety and fear. This treatment can be individual, but sharing experiences is considered very positive. Sharing with other patients each case, the sequelae, feelings and fears can help a lot to put personal experiences into perspective. At the Torrejón University Hospital, managed by the Ribera health group, some meetings have been organized with ICU patients with two main objectives: to encourage this exchange of experiences and to collect opinions and suggestions to improve the humanization of care of these patients the hospitals of the group.

You can see the video summary of this meeting here

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